tallied his 98th career Grand Prix victory with a at Jerez in front of 123,000 enthusiastic fans. The defending champion seized the checkers after a battle with Spanish rider Dani Pedrosa, who finished second. Ducati’s Casey Stoner piloted the Desmosedici to a third-place finish.
Valentino Rossi scored his 98th career Grand Prix triumph with a win at Jerez.
Pedrosa and Stoner ran up front for the first lap of the Jerez circuit, as Rossi spent the first two laps getting around his teammate for third. LCR Honda’s Randy de Puniet settled into fifth after a solid start, just ahead of factory Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso. Meanwhile, Rizla Suzuki’s Loris Capirossi and Tech 3 Yamaha’s Colin Edwards worked over seventh, with Marco Melandri in eighth on the Hayate Kawasaki ZX-RR.
As Pedrosa worked to break away up front, Rossi and Stoner swapped second-place on Lap 5, and on Lap 7 the Doctor finally managed to make the move stick. Meanwhile, the steady Dovizoso ran off into the gravel, the rejoining the race from way back in 16th.
Ten laps in Pedrosa had a one second advantage over Rossi, with Stoner spaced about the same distance from the Yamaha pilot. Lorenzo lingered three seconds behind the podium riders as De Puniet held onto a lonely fifth, with Melandri getting ahead of Edwards in the battle over sixth.
At the midway point, Rossi managed to close to within a second of Pedrosa, slowly reeling in the Spaniard by tenths every lap. With 10 to go, the Doctor was within striking distance and made his move. All the while, Stoner was unchallenged in third, well ahead of Lorenzo.
Once in front, Rossi’s charge for his first Grand Prix victory of 2009 was sealed and the Italian quickly set up a cushion on the Spaniard. The focus then shifted to Stoner and Lorenzo, as the pole position winner was trying to run down the Aussie for that final podium spot and its valuable 16 points. Lorenzo tossed his podium chances away, however, with a low-side with four to go. The point leader starting the race remounted his Yamaha M1 but the machine was unable to continue, much to Lorenzo’s disgust entering the pits.
Dani Pedrosa held the lead for the first half of the Jerez race, but the Spaniard was unable to repeat his 2008 victory for the home crowd.
Rossi crossed the line, taking the points lead in the process. The win gets Rossi back to normal, and the Doctor was back to his normal antics as well, parking his M1 on the victory lap for a run out to the porta-potty. Pedrosa was second, with Casey Stoner
scoring his first career podium at Jerez in third. The Aussie’s best Jerez finish delivers a second-place position in the points, while Pedrosa is tied for third overall with the unfortunate Lorenzo.
De Puniet held onto fourth at Jerez, the French rider’s best result of the season and a very impressive ride on the satellite LCR Honda. Also impressive was the sole Kawasaki at Jerez, campaigned by Melandri, which secured fifth - one of the best finishes for the ZX-RR in recent memory. Capirossi was sixth, Edwards seventh, with Dovizoso working his way up to eighth from 16th after running his Repsol Honda RC212V into the gravel mid-race – quite an impressive feat for the Italian.
Toni Elias, usually a hot commodity during the Spanish GPs, was just ninth today, one spot ahead of Suzuki’s Vermeulen, a disappointing result for the Aussie. Sete Gibernau was 11th on the satellite Ducati, Japanese Honda rider Yuki Takahashi was 12th with James Toseland 13th aboard the second Tech 3 Yamaha. Alex de Angelis was 14th for the Gresini Honda squad, while Nicky Hayden continues to struggle with the Ducati scoring a single point in 15th.
Lorenzo's Jerez race was solid... Until a disastrous low-side with 4 to go that is.
Stoner's third-place podium was his best Jerez finish.
Along with Lorenzo’s big mistake and DNF, promising Pramac Ducati rider Mika Kallio also suffered a DNF, retiring to the pits and seeming to suffer from braking problems.
The MotoGP paddock will stay in Europe for Round 4, the next GP taking place at Le Mans in two week’s time.
MotoGP Jerez Results:
1. Valentino Rossi (Fiat Yamaha)
2. Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda)
3. Casey Stoner (Marlboro Ducati)
4. Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda)
5. Marco Melandri (Hayate Kawasaki)
6. Loris Capirossi (Rizla Suzuki)
7. Colin Edwards (Tech 3 Yamaha)
8. Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda)
9. Toni Elias (Gresini Honda)
10. Chris Vermeulen (Rizla Suzuki)
11. Sete Gibernau (Grupo Francisco Hernando Ducati)
12. Yuki Takahashi (Scot Honda)
13. James Toseland (Tech 3 Yamaha)
14. Alex de Angelis (Gresini Honda)
15. Nicky Hayden (Marlboro Ducati)
DNF Jorge Lorenzo (Fiat Yamaha)
DNF Mika Kallio (Pramac Ducati)
More Grand Prix of Spain Rider Quotes
Dani Pedrosa - Repsol Honda – 2nd
“I really wanted to win here but I knew it was going to be tough because Valentino has been very strong through the weekend and I knew he’d be fast in the race – and that’s how it turned out. I got a good start, got out in front and then I just tried to concentrate on my race and see what would happen. Although of course I wanted to win here for me, the team and the fans, I’m actually very happy with the podium and surprised too. We struggled when we arrived on Friday and having missed so much testing in the winter – and the test here – It’s a very good result for us, so I must say thanks to my team and everyone who’s working with me. We’re having quite a difficult time at the moment to get the machine performance to where we want it, so this podium is unbelievable.”
Casey Stoner - Ducati Marlboro - 3rd
"After all these years this is my first time on the podium at Jerez so it has been a long time coming – I’ve had plenty of opportunities in the past but I’ve been unlucky and made mistakes, so this tastes really sweet. Today I wasn’t nervous about the race at all because to be honest I went into it thinking that I didn’t have a chance of finishing on the podium. We knew Dani, Valentino and Jorge all had a better pace than us so we took a bit of a gamble with the setting to try and find an extra edge and it paid off, so I have to thank the team for that. I got a great start and I was running right up there with Dani in the early stages but I started to lose the front in a few corners. When Valentino came I tried to hold him off as best as I could but when he came past me the second time I decided to try and stay behind him, to see if he could take me with him to Dani. Unfortunately from that point I was losing the front even more often and there was one place in particular where I was almost crashing every lap. When Jorge started to close in I honestly thought it was ‘game over’ but I kept pushing to try and at least take the battle to the final laps. It was just getting to the point where I was going to have to back off because I was risking a crash, but Jorge solved that problem for me! I couldn’t believe my luck but I think we deserved it though because the whole team has worked incredibly hard all weekend and I could not have given more in the race. It is only third place but it feels even better than the win in Qatar."
Randy de Puniet - LCR Honda – 4th
“It was a perfect weekend for me and the team, so my thanks to them. When I enjoy the bike I can really go fast, and people could see that today. The bike was very easy to ride and I had fun. I made a good start and when Dovizioso overtook me I remained concentrated to try and keep my position. After a few laps he made a mistake and I got back into fifth place. Then at the end I finished in fourth place. I am very satisfied with the work we did this weekend, because we struggled here during preseason testing. Honestly, I think if we can keep this pace for the rest of the season we can be really competitive. However, we must keep our feet on the ground because we restart from zero at Le Mans. My goal is to finish all the races and get as many points as possible.”
Loris Capirossi – Rizla Suzuki – 6th
"I am a bit upset with the result, because we had a problem with the tire and had to change it on the grid and that cost us some places at the start. We put in a new one and for the first two laps it did not work as well as I would have liked. After it settled down I pushed hard and chased Marco and Colin and tried get past them. I did that but the grip dropped off pretty quickly and they went back past me, so I played about with the traction control to find the best solution. I found a good setting and although I was fighting a lot with the bike I was able to stay with the two of them. In the last three laps I tried to overtake and I got past Colin and went by Marco, but I braked too late and ran wide and they both went back past me. On the last lap I overtook Colin again, but there wasn't enough time to get Marco. We want to go much better than this, but we have to work harder, because although the bike is not too bad we have to take some big steps!"
Colin Edwards – Monster Yamaha Tech 3 - 7th
“I got a really good start but right from the first lap I knew I wasn't going to be able to run the pace I needed. The guys in front just gapped me immediately and I couldn't get the bike to turn. We went in the wrong direction yesterday when it was hot, so for the race we went back to the setting I'd had in the morning when the track temperature was a bit cooler. In the cooler temperatures that setting was fine, but once the temperature goes up I just couldn't get into the rhythm I want and know I was capable of. I wanted to be smooth and precise but I couldn't do that. I was having to adjust my style to get some weight on the rear to help the bike turn, but it wasn't enough for me to get into the top six and that's a bit frustrating.”
Andrea Dovizioso - Repsol Honda – 8th
“I didn’t make a great start but I was able to recover some places and I’m pretty sure I could have stayed with Lorenzo if I hadn’t made the mistake. On the eighth lap while I was in fifth position I lost the rear entering turn eight and I almost crashed. Fortunately I was able to rejoin the race and started to climb back up from 16th to eighth position. I wasn’t as fast as I wanted today because we’re still not at 100 per cent with the set-up of the bike. I’m disappointed about today’s result because we didn’t get the best out of the bike today. Dani had a great race today and I think he’s getting the maximum possible from the package, so I want to say congratulations to him.”
Toni Elias - San Carlo Honda Gresini – 9th
“I honestly thought we were capable of a better race today but it was impossible. We were suffering too much throughout the race with a lack of rear traction and I can promise the fans that I couldn’t do any more than what I did. In a situation like this you can only try to take some positives away from the Grand Prix as a whole and looking back at the weekend we have at least continued to make progress. We were two seconds off the pace in Qatar, one and a half seconds off in Motegi and one second off here. The target for Le Mans is to reduce it to less than a second. I hope we can do it.”
Chris Vermeulen – Rizla Suzuki – 10th
"I got a reasonable start off the line, but I came together with a couple of other riders in turn one and lost my momentum. It was a bit difficult as I had a couple of Ducatis around me and with their straight-line speed they were a bit hard to get past. Once I got by I thought I would be able to pick up my lap-time, but we struggled with front grip and I wasn't able to. The track temperature was a few degrees hotter today and it seemed to affect us more than it did some others and we have to work out why. I am disappointed with 10th because obviously the goal was to be nearer the front. We will now re-group and get to work on the next race."
Yuki Takahashi - Scot Honda - 12th
“I’m satisfied with that result. I had a good feeling with the bike – the best since the beginning of the season. I made a good start and rode a fast first lap. Then I overtook Elias and found myself in a good position, but in the second half of the race I began to experience some problems with the tires – first with the front, then with the rear. Anyway, I’m really happy: my program is to learn race by race, at that is what I’m doing.”
James Toseland – Monster Yamaha Tech 3 - 13th
"It has been a tough weekend and we have got some issues to sort out. We're still trying a few things on the bike and I'm still searching for a comfortable setting over a race distance. I still need a second or so on race pace but I need to sort out qualifying too. I can do the same times as four or five guys in front of me, but when you're all lapping at the same pace, it's hard to come through. I'm giving myself too much to do from qualifying and being too far back. You don't need to be too far off but if you start at the back you stay at the back in a competitive class like this. It has not been a great start to the season but I don't feel we're that far away. We've got a lot of information from this weekend and we're eliminating things that we know don't work. I'm confident we're close to finding the setting I need and working hard with my guys to find it. ”
Alex De Angelis - San Carlo Honda Gresini – 14th
“I woke up this morning with a bout of ‘flu and I was really struggling. Doctor Costa sorted me out with some medication but I certainly wasn’t at 100 per cent for the race. I got a decent start but I got stuck behind Toseland and even though I felt much faster than him he was very, very strong on the brakes and I just couldn’t get past. I got stuck there for the whole race and that was that, pretty much. There’s not much else to say! It has been one of my hardest weekends for a long time and I’m looking forward to spending some time at home, recovering from this illness and having a good rest before France, which promises to be another tough one for us.”
Niccolò Canepa - Pramac Racing - 16th
"We started quite well. During warm up we found a good technical compromise, but after a few laps in the race something happened in the front part of my bike that didn't allow me to result as fast. It's a pity because I could have finish this race probably three or four positions ahead. We will keep working hard to improve really soon."
Mika Kallio - Pramac Racing - DNF
"I am very sad today because I was doing well. In the start I made it to overtake three opponents but then I felt something strange in the rear part of my bike. I thought that it would be gone really quickly, but the situation has gotten worst and I was obligated to enter the pit. It's a pity because I could have entered once again the top ten. Now we will analyze the situation to be able to improve in France in fourteenth days."